The ocean is my water therapy. Whether I’m walking along the beach, sitting in meditation on the shore, or paddling out to sea. The smell. The sight. The sound. The taste of the salty air. The fluidity of water washes over me – easing my anxiety and cleansing my soul.
I’ve said over + over again, “Nature gives us what we seek.”
With that in mind, I want to tell you about a divine encounter I had after my paddle session.
I believe that we meet people for a reason.
They come into our lives for a moment, for a few months, for years, or a lifetime. Sometimes they come to us in the form of Earth Angels – people who I believe we encounter by intention, for the two of us to learn from one another.
Paddling my board to the dock, I noticed a disheveled yet strikingly beautiful woman sitting alone. As I pulled my board out of the water, I looked over at her. She noticed me + smiled. It was as if I had seen this woman somewhere before. I took my headphones out of my ears + paused for a moment.
Where have I seen her? She looked so familiar.
The woman looked back + commented on my swimsuit, “I love your swimsuit. You are so cute! Look at you. I don’t have a swimsuit anymore. I lost it. Now I go in the water wearing my shorts and my granny underwear. Look at me. And look at you.”
I smiled back + said, “Thank you. But you are so cute yourself! It doesn’t matter what you wear in the water. As long as you get in.”
I still couldn’t figure out where I had seen her before. “Do you come down here often? You look familiar, but I don’t know where from.”
She replied, “No. I come, and I go. I don’t live anywhere. Someday I want to go back to living on a boat. I have big dreams. I want to do big things.”
I smiled. “It can happen! Eight years ago, I was in a rough spot and wondered how I was going to make it.”
“Yeah? I’ve been watching you. And how you just grabbed your board and went onto the water. I used to do that. I used to ride the ocean. I love the water + paddling. And I watched you go out there. I should be you. But I’m not. Look at me. Now I’m sitting here, homeless, with my diet coke and whiskey. All I want is to do what you are doing. My life went a different way. I had hard times. I made other choices. Maybe someday.”
I sat on the dock and listened. Then I responded. I told her I would bring a swimsuit every time I’m down here and when we meet again, I would give it to her.
Not caring that I wouldn’t have time to shower for my 4:00 call, there was something about this woman, and I couldn’t bring myself to walk away.
And then she said, “You look like me.” I felt shivers.
Oh, my gosh, that was it.
This woman looked like me. And I looked like her.
I responded, “That’s it. I couldn’t figure it out, but you look like me. You are wearing a shirt with diet coke on it, my favorite drink. I love a good whiskey. And that stocking hat you’re wearing? I have one that looks like it at home. Just a different color. This is so crazy!”
My time alone in nature gives me space to reflect on my life. If it weren’t for nature healing, I would never have learned to take the pause. To get out of my head, drop into my heart, and fully embrace and understand the need for moments. Because in the moment is where we are most present and have our most profound connection + learning.
I often say, “We are mirrors for one another.”
A little of you is in me. And a little of me is in you. We all experience both celebrations + challenges in life. Some people’s journeys are more complex than others. And, we all have choices along the way.
I could be her. And she could be me.
We both recognized how wild this moment was between us.
I said, “Maybe this will help: Eight years ago when I went through a hard time, I thought about what would happen if I took my own life. How all of my pain would go away and I wouldn’t have to hold onto it anymore.”
“I’ve tried taking my life many times. It’s gotten that bad,” she said.
We sat and talked for a while about life and our individual journeys. Her name is “Ever,” like “everlasting love.”
This conversation elicited a huge pause for me.
And it’s in the pause, in the internal conversations with self, and the conversations we have with others, where we learn about life and relationships – both the relationship we have within self and with those around us.
Remember, there is really no such thing as being a stranger.
I am so, so eternally grateful for my life. For my journey.
As Ever said, “I could have been like you.”
Yes, and let’s get real. I could have been her.
Many, many times in my life, I could have been her.
There’s a little of each of us in one another.
There is no time like the present to make a different choice.
To take a step, no matter how small or large.
Because it only takes a moment to change a life.
Yours, or someone else’s.
Thank you, Ever. You changed mine.
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